Written by Julianna Bonnett
Everybody knows that the saying "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me" is a complete and utter lie. WORDS do hurt, or at least they can, but on the flip side, sometimes people's words can help you or even save your life.
As crazy as it sounds, everyone has their own opinions, and with having an opinion, things can become challenging. Sometimes your beliefs and opinions can hurt someone you care about. People may look at you as an uneducated fool or have some people fearful of expressing their opinion in front of you simply because they are scared of being shut down. So, where do you draw the line on having such an open and honest opinion around others?
Let's start with an outline; there is a difference between having an "opinion" and being "overly opinionated."
For example, having an opinion means you have a strong conviction, but you know you may be wrong. You challenge someone, but you are open to being challenged. You are critical, but it's not personal. You want to change someone's mind, but you are ready to have your mind changed.
Where being overly opinionated means you are convinced because you are right. You challenge someone because you know better. You are critical because that person is wrong. You want to change their mind because they are wrong. You attack them because they are wrong and because your opinion is the only opinion.
Having an opinion on something is natural, and it's not a bad thing; it means you're using your voice and expressing something you believe in, but sometimes words can hurt others. With that, your opinions can affect people negatively. Sometimes though, your voice can guide others and give them the confidence and strength to be open and honest about their truth.
With every conversation comes different opinions and approaches; being open with one another creates more discussion, and when conversations happen, more change can begin. Learning to respect others for their views and thoughts is the first step to having a real conversation and being open to learning more.
Once you're able to implement that, you will be confident with your opinions while also learning and listening to others. This can lead to a free discussion, whether you agree or disagree respectfully.